Pet Consider

Can Rabbits Eat Bananas?

Can Rabbits Have Bananas?

By now, many bunny parents are fully aware that their fuzzy, cotton-tailed children have exceedingly fragile digestion. As a result, we are cautious when we feed our rabbits anything that isn’t formulated specifically with them in mind—which can make a veterinarian’s recommendation to “supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables” a little intimidating. We know they can eat hay, and we are pretty sure they can eat carrots and cucumbers, but what sort of fruit can we give them?

Our instinct is to go with the fruit that is most mild and easily digestible: bananas. After all, when our digestion is out of whack, we follow the BRAT diet. So, if we can eat bananas even when we have the stomach flu, our healthy bunnies should be able to tolerate them, right?
 
Can you give your rabbit bananas?

Yes, rabbits can eat bananas, but only in very small portions. This sweet, soft fruit does not contain any chemicals that would be poisonous to your rabbit, so if you’re concerned that you gave them too much in one sitting, you don’t need to rush them to the animal hospital. Feeding your rabbit too much banana one time is not likely to cause any lasting damage. Regularly giving your rabbit banana in excess, however, can cause some health problems. Give bananas to your rabbit the way you would give ice cream to your children: as a rare treat.

Health Benefits?

BananasMost rabbits love bananas, but unfortunately, they are not one of the healthiest bunny foods. We eat this fruit regularly for the healthy carbohydrates, plus the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Our rabbits are strictly herbivorous, which would lead one to believe that our favorite fruits are perfect for them. This may hold true for many other herbivorous animals, like orangutans, many birds, and even some other rodents, but not for rabbits.

Rabbits are not frugivores, and so they have vastly different dietary needs from your backyard squirrels or your vegan cousin. Whereas squirrels and rats will happily gobble up fruity snacks, rabbits are much more like guinea pigs—they have evolved to eat a very fibrous, low-sugar, low-calorie diet of hay and fresh vegetables. Fruit, especially starchy fruits like bananas, are much higher in calories and sugar than the ideal rabbit foods. Because your bunny’s ancestors spent millions of years subsisting on low-calorie plant matter, feeding them dense, low fiber fruits like bananas can easily cause them to become overweight or obese.

Your rabbit simply does not need all of the carbohydrates, naturally occurring or not, in bananas. If you are going to share fruit with them, it is important to realize that the fruit does very little to contribute to their physical health—it is a treat and not an important part of their diet. Your rabbit could go their entire life without ever eating a piece of fruit and stay perfectly healthy.

Things to Consider

Bananas contain a small amount of fiber, but it is miniscule compared to the fiber content of the foods that they should be eating. Starchy, low fiber fruits are likely to result in digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, or cecal problems. Rabbits have very complex, finicky digestive systems, and feeding them a substandard diet will often cause severe discomfort. Gastrointestinal problems can also be fatal if they get severe enough. If your rabbit has been eating bananas and they suddenly start refusing food and water, stop giving them bananas. Other symptoms of gastrointestinal problems include fecal pellets that are tangled up with excessive amounts of hair, runny stool, irregularly shaped fecal pellets, or very small, dry fecal pellets. If symptoms persist, the best thing you can do is consult a veterinarian. If there is something wrong with your rabbit’s diet, it may be necessary to have a professional address the problem. Do not wait too long and put your bunny’s life at risk!

Feeding your rabbits too many bananas may also spoil them. If your rabbit develops a sweet tooth, they may be more likely to lose interest in hay and leafy greens, which are the foods they need to meet all of their nutritional needs. If they get into the habit of waiting for fruity snacks, you may have to battle to get them to adopt their proper eating habits once more.

If you decide to treat your rabbit to a bit of banana, give them a thumb-sized portion once or twice per week. Any more than this will pack too many sugar and calories, and may upset their digestive system. If your rabbit is already overweight, do not give them any fruit at all. Starchy fruits can only be given to healthy rabbits.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, bananas are safe for rabbits as a rare treat, but they should not be given in moderation. These fruits are low in fiber, yet high in sugar and calories that can cause weight gain and gastrointestinal problems. If your rabbit is overweight or has a history of digestive troubles, opt for more rabbit-friendly treats.

Rabbit Eating Banana Video:

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1 Comment

  1. rabbits.life

    July 31, 2017 - 12:57 pm
    Reply

    Very nice article. I agree that they can have a very small bite, only as a treat, no larger than an adult’s thumb (5% of their diet) because rabbits are herbivorous they need fibrous foods like hay.

    I would like to add, as I read on forums, people are inclined to believe that bananas are a solution in handling soft stools. That is not true. Starchy food will destroy good gut bacteria and will do more harm than good.

    If you’re dealing with rabbit diarrhea (soft stools) try to feed your rabbit only fresh hay (timothy, meadow, or orchard, or a mix of those for a better taste) and plenty of water.

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